In Change, Leaders

“To change who you are, change who you think you are.” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

We talk about change here a lot, and we’ve talked about belief before, but I think it’s so important that it’s worth revisiting.  Everything we do in our lives is driven by how we view ourselves and the world around us.  Sometimes we like to think that we make decisions based on “cold hard facts”, but the reality is that even those facts are usually open to some kind of interpretation – which is generally dictated by our beliefs.

We work with a lot of businesses, and change is hard for most of them.  Part of what makes it so hard is the beliefs they have about their businesses and their industries.  For example, too many organizations think they’re in one business when they’re really in another.  Their narrow focus limits anything they might otherwise conceivably do.

The best example is an old one – a buggy whip maker.  If you believed in 1900 that you were in the business of making buggy whips, you’re probably out of business today.  If you believed in 1900 that you were in the transportation business, you may still be around.  The point is that we limit ourselves by what we think about our businesses.

It’s not limited to what industry we think we’re in either.  You can tell what organizations think by listening to them talk.  Listen to yourself – do you say “We’re not very good at sales” or “We struggle to attract good people” or “We’re in a very low growth market without a lot of opportunity” or any number of similar things?  Those negative beliefs limit what you think you’re capable of – and your actions will reflect those beliefs.

We do the same thing as individuals.  How often do you or those around you say things like “I’ve never been very good at…” or “I struggle with…” or “I always…”?  What you’re hearing are people who have convinced themselves that things are a certain way, and the behaviors of those people will show it.

For those of you who are already typing dissenting comments below, no, I’m not suggesting you should put your head in the sand and be in complete denial about reality.  I’m merely suggesting that reality isn’t necessarily what you think it is, and it’s certainly changeable.

What do you think about your business?  What do you think about yourself?  What beliefs are driving how you run your business or live your life?  Most importantly – what are you going to start believing today?

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